My Latest Restaurant Experience Will Feel Familiar to All Of You
I was at this extremely crowded restaurant the other night and I had to call for the waiter because I was upset.
I had ordered pasta and they had served me ‘gnocchi with garam masala’. And it’s not that I have anything against fusion food. I’m open to trying it but it just tasted wrong. So I looked up at my waiter and said,
“Manmohan, I don’t like this. I do like you and you told me you would give me good food but you didn’t”
He just stared at me.
“Manmohan say something. I know you’re smart, so please say something”
He was just about to speak, when suddenly waiters in a new uniform — white shirt with brown bermudas — started putting dhoklas and khandvis on everyone’s plate.
I was like, ‘Hey, hold on I didn’t want this’.
But the new waiters explained ‘Actually, the majority of the crowd wants to eat this, so …’
And this was a really old restaurant which used to serve all kinds of food — Mughlai, Dutch, Portuguese, British. For a long time, I believed it was the kind of place that usually looked down upon dhoklas, with the last chef being ‘Western’ and all.
But I was taken aback. There were a lot of people who had been pretending to like things the way they were. Now they simply adored the dhoklas.
Of course, I was hungry so I had a bite of the khandvi.
Now if you think about it, the texture of khandvi and pasta are quite similar, just few ingredients are different. I couldn’t decide which one I hated more.
I called one of the new waiters, Amit, and told him the truth,
‘I don’t know if I want this right now, but I’m a non-vegetarian and I would like some meat. And also top up my wine, please.’
Amit then told me alcohol and meat is banned.
‘What the hell are you saying, Amit? Please call the chef.’
Amit replied, ‘No can do ma’am! He’s touring other restaurants in town.’
‘Ok, is he going to bring some food from there? What if I want to eat some meat right now, what do I do?’
Amit then rudely cuts me off, ‘Ma’am, I’ll just get back to you. Another table needs me, apparently they are not sure if they should stick to khandvi and I need to force feed them into believing they love it.’
He just sprints to one table after another. I was watching his actions mesmerised by his audacity, when I hear a massive commotion on an unattended table. Apparently, some dude had already sneaked in meat into the restaurant and the rest of his table (I’m guessing, people he is acquainted with) started throwing really hard kachoris at him. (Yes, they were serving those on the sly too). He was was bleeding and crying for help. Before I could even fathom the seriousness of his injuries, the entire restaurant was throwing dhoklas, kachoris and fusion pastas at each other. It was this ridiculous food-fight. I believed we were all decent people dining at the restaurant, but I just didn’t get why a khandvi can be so polarising.
And like in every mass food fight, the floor starts getting really messy. So this ordinary looking man starts cleaning the place with a broom. I thought, that’s great he’s doing something constructive. I guess many others thought the same way and picked up brooms to start sweeping the place. There was already so much crap on the floor since the pasta was so sticky and kachoris were crumbly. That’s why I decided to join these broom-bearing Good Samaritans. When I was about to pick up a broom, a fight breaks out between two of the ‘cleaners’. They begin poking each other in the eye with broom sticks. Broom strands are flying all over. They were creating a whole new mess.
To add to the maddening chaos, self-proclaimed food critics started preaching to each table why dhoklas are pathetic for your health. Some even said fusion pastas are so expensive and have been overcharging us all this while. Newer food critics kept popping up one after the other. One food critic was so loud, I could hardly hear my thoughts. He kept repeating, ‘The restaurant wants to know. The restaurant wants to know’.
Then I yelled at him. ‘I don’t want to know whatever you want to tell me. I just want good food that I’m already getting charged for.’
That’s when I decide to leave and find another restaurant. I was about to pay up, when the head chef finally turns up at my table and tells me he’s banned cash.
Now I’m in tears and can’t take it anymore. Still, I’m not a criminal and have a legit on-shore bank account that gave me a debit card, so I pay with that and run away as fast as I can.
The chef’s busy yelling about some new taxes or combining taxes, (which if I remember correctly was the old waiter, Manmohan’s idea) but I don’t look back and promise never to return.
Now I start running towards this other well-established restaurant right in the centre of town. It had all kinds of cuisine that I was really looking forward to. But as I was nearing it I saw these elderly waiters throwing out the pizzas, the schnitzels and tapas dishes. Most of the the food, this renowned restaurant was famous for. But now they were putting up the following signs “Only fish ’n’ chips and curry”. I was like what the hell is this ridiculous menu. I decide I don’t want to waste more energy to try and figure out what’s gone wrong here and head to this other world famous fast-food joint.
Everyone knows this fast-food is just simply addictive. I was already craving those meaty burgers and other fattening accompaniments. It was a dreamland for a hungry person. Cheap, fast and easy. But I was surprised to find they had new bouncers at its doors. They asked me which restaurant I came from. Did it really matter? Apparently it did. While I got entry in-spite of the crazy dhokla v/s fusion pasta restaurant I came from, the people behind me who had just eaten middle-eastern cuisine didn’t. I decided I’m not going to say anything, because I was hungry and didn’t want to be thrown out.
I place my order only to see that a new orange coloured chef with a weird mop of hair is busy tweeting and not cooking at all. I yell at him but he continues to tweet. So I check his twitter feed on my phone. He’s tweeted, ‘ I don’t have time to make burgers right now, because I’m busy making the greatest wall ever.’
Next tweet: ‘Also there’ll be no coffee any more, just covfefe.’
I’m still hungry in the hope that one day these restaurants figure out that they need to serve their people real honest food. I don’t know about you